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Friday, October 9, 2009

One Journey Ends and Another Begins

I finally finished Lost Odyssey last night. It took me fourteen months and fifty hours of play to finish the game. In many ways, it was a little sad to let the game go after having spent so much time playing it. I enjoyed Lost Odyssey. It was a gorgeous, traditional J-RPG that has been sadly overlooked by many RPG gamers worldwide. I highly recommend Lost Odyssey to any RPG fans out there who grew up playing the Final Fantasy series and other turn-based RPGs.

The one thing that really set Lost Odyssey apart from the more typical RPG-fare was the dream sequences. These text-only portions of the game were incredibly well written and quite moving. I do fear that many of the messages and themes portrayed in these dream sequences might lack a certain impact for younger audiences. But I can say that as a father and husband, Kaim's dreams really struck a note with me. I didn't cry while reading any of these passages but I wouldn't fault someone for doing so. It's a strange occurrence when games can have a marked emotional impact on its audience. Honestly, it was the dream sequences that really set Lost Odyssey apart from most other games released on the Xbox 360. It was an incredible RPG and an experience that I won't soon forget.

And though Lost Odyssey will always be remembered, that's not to say that I won't be trading the game in now that I've finished it. It's time for someone else to enjoy this epic RPG.

As for me, I've moved on to Atlus's latest project - Demon's Souls. I managed to play the first 15 minutes of the game last night. I haven't played quite enough to formulate any concrete opinions on the game. I do have some fairly telling observations though:

  • First off, I'd like you to recall my rant concerning the Demon's Souls title. After starting the game last night, I'm happy to say that "Demon's Souls" is used in a grammatically correct manner. The title refers to the immense power granted to a demon due to the human souls it has collected. Hence, a demon's souls give it power and acquiring a demon's souls is something to strive for as a player character. Well played Atlus...

  • Demon's Soul's voice-over work is pretty damned good. I have yet to hear an out-of-place voice or accent. Every spoken word is believable and conveys the emotion intended by the on-screen character. I did not expect this from a game developed in Japan. Kudos to Atlus for some solid localization work.

  • The opening cut-scene is remarkable and really gets you ready to play the game. However, the character creation screen then drags everything down again but what can you do? I don't blame the developers for this.

  • I hate generating the look of my characters in games. I become obsessed with doing a good job and I've yet to create a single avatar that has looked half-way decent.

  • The fighting mechanics feel pretty solid. My avatar feels heavy and real without feeling clunky. Swings of my sword all pack a good punch that can be felt in the subtle vibrations my PS3 controller.

  • The in-game graphics seem to be pretty good. I haven't really played long enough to see anything too impressive yet but I get the sense that I won't be disappointed.

  • I've only died once in the game during the tutorial. I'm not sure if I was supposed to die or not; regardless, I now find myself in the mysterious Nexus in spirit form. Combat was not too hard during the tutorial. Of course, the creature that killed me was suitably frightening and very intimidating.

I'm looking forward to firing up Demon's Souls tonight and giving the game a real go. It'll be hard but I'm really looking forward to taking on the tougher creatures and getting my real journey started. The Demon's Soul's tutorial gave me a little taste of what lies ahead. I'm more than ready to take that challenge to heart.

Have a great weekend everyone!